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News: National Theatre coming to Sunderland Schools

Rehearsals begin for the National Theatre’s upcoming schools tour of Jekyll & Hyde, reaching 10,000 young people nationwide

The production will be seen by 10,000 young people nationwide and will visit Sunderland from 15 – 19 January 2024.

Rehearsals start today for the National Theatre’s upcoming touring production of Evan Placey’s radical reimagining of Jekyll & Hyde. Following the success of the Jekyll & Hyde schools tour in 2022, the production will be seen by students from 60 state secondary schools across the country from 8 January – 16 March 2024.

Directed by Kirsty Housley, the 9-week tour will be watched by over 10,000 students with the production visiting school halls across the country.

In a reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, this new version sees Victorian England merged with the modern day as it explores how the repression of female voices can be as prevalent today as it was in the 19th century. Confronting contemporary social issues such as identity, online personas, culpability and the right to protest, the production aims to bring education beyond the classroom and inspire students to engage with topical issues through the arts.

In partnership with local theatres, the production will be seen by students in schools across Greater Manchester, Sunderland, Leicester, Stoke, Peterborough, Wakefield, Doncaster, Wolverhampton, Hornchurch and North Devon. The Lowry and Victoria Hall in Stoke will also host performances exclusively for local schools. This will allow the tour to reach as wide an audience as possible and strengthen connections between schools and their local venues.

The cast includes Sophie Atherton, Philip Bosworth, Wesley Bozonga, Ellie Gallimore, Scott Howland, Angela Jones, Andy Sellers and Lucy Elizabeth Thorburn.

Costume and set designed by Amanda Stoodley, with lighting designer Joshua Pharo, associate lighting designer Sarah Readman, and Benjamin Grant as sound designer.

Emma Tully, a teacher from Sunderland said: “Theatre should belong to everybody and the work that the National Theatre does should belong to everybody. I feel like it does this with the school tours. It builds that bridge between you and our students and gives them access to a wider world.”

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said: “Theatre plays an important role in sparking discussions and developing skills that go beyond the classroom. We are delighted to be bringing back the schools’ touring production of Jekyll & Hyde to even more schools across the country. By visiting young people in their school halls and in their local venues we hope they will be inspired to continue exploring theatre and what their brilliant local venues have to offer.”

The schools’ tour forms part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships network to grow and sustain new audiences for live theatre and create more opportunities to engage in the arts. Our partner theatres include Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre Royal Wakefield, CAST in Doncaster, Sunderland Empire and Sunderland Culture, The Wolverhampton Grand, Curve in Leicester, Landmark Theatres in North Devon and Peterborough, Restoke, Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall in Stoke, Trowbridge Town Hall and The Lowry in Salford.

The National Theatre’s Learning department aims to inspire creativity and boost skills for the future workforce of the sector and build a more creative nation. With 85% of all UK state secondary schools now signed up to the National Theatre Collection, National Theatre Learning is present in every local authority in the UK through its in-person and digital programmes, making it easier for schools to place arts and creativity at the heart of education.

The tour will play in Sunderland schools from 15-19 January. For more information about Theatre Nation Partnerships and the schools’ tour, visit the NT Website.

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